Pressing on... Robert Gillmor
So, I've just popped into Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley-next-the-Sea where they're super busy hanging the pics for Robert Gillmor's new exhibition Pressing On, which opens tomorrow.
Ornithologist, illustrator, founder member and former president of the Society of Wildlife Artists... there is no end to the talents of Robert Gillmor MBE, PPSWLA. He is, without doubt, one of our best-loved wildlife artists.
And what a show Pressing On promises to be! The walls are lined with a wonderful display of the linocuts Robert made for Royal Mail's Post & Go Stamps (as above). There are multiple copies of these because, according to the exhibition catalogue, in order to reach the final version Robert had to make artist's proofs. Royal Mail agreed he could sell these, especially as one third of the profits from the stamps will go to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
Of these stamp linocuts, perhaps not surprisingly, British birds feature heavily - from chaffinches and blackbirds to greylag geese and oystercatchers; though there is also an extraordinary collection of farm animals (I love the piggies).
Honestly, when you see them, you'll want to snap up every single one!
Also on display are a collection of jacket covers Robert did for the Collins series of New Naturalist books, as well as rarer prints from Robert's back catalogue. Much was still to be unpacked and hung when I swung by, but I'm hoping my photos give you a small taste of what a truly accomplished man Robert is.
Born in 1936 in Reading, Robert attended Leighton Park School (his first illustration appeared in print when he was just 16) before attending the School of Fine Art at Reading University. After a stint teaching at Leighton Park, he became a freelance wildlife artist in 1965.
Robert moved to Cley in 1998, where he was inspired to return to his love of making linocut prints - and in the last twelve years, he's produced 33 New Naturalist covers, 30 gallery edition linocuts, 23 other book jackets and 46 stamp designs, as well as contributing to over 500 books and magazines. He even created the original avocet drawing for the iconic RSPB logo.
I've been lucky enough to meet Robert and his wife Sue on a number of occasions and I whole-heartedly agree with Pinkfoot Gallery owner Sarah Whittley, who says in her introduction to the exhibition catalogue (below), that Robert is not just a 'grandfather' of wildlife art, he is genuinely one of the nicest artists she has ever worked with.
Go, I urge you. And marvel at Robert's extraordinary talent.
PS: If you don't manage to get your hands on a Gillmor linocut, fear not; Robert's work also appears on a variety of homewares and stationery (table mats, cushions, notepads, greetings cards, even deckchairs) thanks to Red Hare Publishing - view and buy online at www.redharepublishing.co.uk; or you can buy it at The Barn at Artemis (just behind the gallery).
Pressing On runs from 28 April to 11 May 2018. For more information, visit www.pinkfootgallery.co.uk